Strategic Review FAQs

Below are some of the questions we are regularly asked about the Strategic Review. If you have a question which isn't included here, please email us at: Sufina.Ahmad@cityoflondon.gov.uk

How can I give feedback on the draft Funding Strategy?

We very much welcome your feedback. In the coming months we will be joining various meetings hosted by others, to discuss the review.  In addition, we will organise our own set of meetings which people can sign up to on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.  You can also respond by filling out our questionnaire, which is on our website, as well as engaging with us via email (sufina.ahmad@cityoflondon.gov.uk) and our social media hashtag #BridgingLondon.

Please keep an eye on our website for all of the latest updates on the different ways you can get involved.

When will the new Funding Strategy be finalised?

We want to spend February and March gathering feedback on the strategy from people externally, as well as linking in with elected Members and officers at the City of London Corporation.  We hope to launch the finalised strategy by October 2017, recognising that the strategy itself won’t be implemented until 2018.

From April 2017 onwards we will begin planning the resources required to implement the strategy, as well as the likely timeframe that we will need.  We will ensure that we regularly update you on the progress that we are making.

Why have you written the first draft of the strategy, before the research you have commissioned is ready?

We were keen to make sure that we stuck to our original deadline of drafting a strategy by the end of January. It is very much a draft so it can be amended and improved. Whilst the research is not yet ready to be published, we have been shown various drafts of each piece of research already, and we have been working closely with the researchers to ensure their findings are reflected in the draft.

You currently fund our project / organisation. Will you still fund us in the future?

It is too early to say. Any applications would have to meet our published funding criteria so at this stage we can’t guarantee that the work we currently fund would still be prioritised within our new programmes.

When referring to place based funding, do you actually mean communities?

The focus of this priority is certainly about funding activities in communities to do great work.  These could be communities of place or interest, and work funded under this priority will have to link back to our vision and values.  The thinking behind this priority has been inspired by the Place Based funding research that we are supporting IVAR to complete, along with others, as well as the regular feedback from so many of the people that we spoke to that people and communities must be at the heart of all that we fund, and that there needs to be a recognition that their experiences operate within a system, and that in some cases our funding and support could tackle the root causes of the inequality within the system, and in other cases our funding and support will tackle the consequences of the inequality within the system.

We know that we don’t have the language exactly right for each of these priority areas, and we look forward to working with you to determine how best to define and present our funding priorities for the future.

What do you mean by “Exit Strategy”?

By this we mean work to look at how an organisation can sustain itself once our funding has ended. This could mean trying to move them towards other potential grant providers or to other funding models, such as Social Investment or contracting.

What do you mean by “Ideas Fund”?

We are interested in new and innovative approaches to long-standing problems affecting Londoners. To facilitate this, we are proposing a specially designated tranche of money to fund these ideas and help them come to fruition.

Will you be funding campaigning in your next funding strategy?

Many people mentioned that the only real way to reduce disadvantage for marginalised and disadvantaged communities was through supporting them to speak truth to power.  This point was raised from stakeholders from all sectors.  CBT will always be a non-partisan organisation, but we do believe that we should take time to explore with others the support we could give to communities and the organisations working with them through the funding priority we have referred to as fairness and voice.

How will the strategy work in practical terms?

Once we have agreed the timeline and resources for implementing the strategy, we will share this information externally.  This strategy will have at its heart a vision and set of values that underpin all of our decisions as a funder.  Through this we will determine clearly articulated priorities that we wish to support through our asset base, and the ways in which we will fund these will be defined by our funding approaches and our funder ‘plus’ programme.  Criteria and guidelines will be published explaining how to apply for our support in line with the launch, and ongoing implementation, of the strategy.

Due to our commitment to learning and flexibility in the strategy, we anticipate that the approaches outlined in the strategy and the priorities that have been defined will evolve to reflect what is most needed to enable us to achieve our vision.

When will Investing in Londoners close?

Our current programmes will remain open for the rest of 2017 and further details as to their closure will be announced as soon as we know.

When will the new funding criteria / programme be announced and when will they be open for applications?

We will announce the finalised version of the strategy in October 2017, and it is our intention to begin implementing it in 2018.  We intend to implement the strategy in stages, for example it is unlikely that we will have our entire toolbox of approaches ready at the same time.  We will keep you updated regularly on the progress that we are making.

Will the Funder Plus Support be a condition of grant?

The funder plus support will be available to our partners, where both parties feel it would be appropriate.  In some cases we may offer more than one form of funder plus support, and all funder plus support will be tailored to your needs.  At the moment, we think that the funder plus won’t be something that you apply for, but rather something that you access through a discussion with your named CBT staff contact.

What do you mean by “Small & large grants” and “Short & long term commitments”?

These are still open for discussion but the new funding strategy aims to be flexible so we can best meet the needs of organisations.  We already fund some groups for several thousand pounds, and some groups for several hundred thousand pounds – and they currently apply using the same application process which is not always proportionate.  We want to review this.  We also heard regularly that there is a need for longer term commitments in some cases, and so we feel that we need to look at the option of funding groups for longer than 3 years, whilst recognising that we cannot do this for all of the organisations we work with.

We feel that in times like these it is important that we offer a range of funding solutions that are accessed in ways that are fair, proportionate and representative.  We will be working with other funders, people we fund and the research that we have commissioned on funding best practice in order to inform the processes that we end up using.

What do you mean by “Strategic Initiatives”?

At present, up to 20% of our annual budget is set aside for Strategic initiatives which go beyond the grants made following application to our Investing in Londoners programmes. They can include research, feasibility studies and conferences, and are often undertaken in partnership with other bodies although you can’t apply for this funding. Further details can be found here.  In the next funding strategy we will be reviewing what we mean by this again, and make a decision about whether or not to expand or change this definition.

What do you mean by “Social Investment”?

Social investment is the provision and use of finance to generate social and financial returns. For more information see the Social Investment FAQs here.